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AR – The Next revolution in Retail

Augmented Reality is a concept of superimposing a computer generated image on the user’s view of real world to provide a composite view. It is becoming very useful in every sector of our life as it holds the potential of bringing elements of the virtual world into the real world, thus enhancing our audio visual & touch experience. AR lies in the middle of Real & Virtual world.

Application of AR can be as simple as text notification & as difficult as a surgical operation. But its ability to highlight certain features, enhanced understandings & provision of accessible and timely data has led it to enter various sectors of market and show growth in the lifecycle of each sector. The most benefited sector at present is the Retail.

AR came into recognition first through Pokémon Go game but even if the Pokémon Craze may have faded, it provides clues for retailers using technology to engage consumers. A report from IDE says that AR is expected to increase at a rate of more than 113% per year. In the case of Retail stores AR comes in the form of apps that need to be connected to user-specific accounts in the form of in-store scanners & kiosks.

Advancements done by AR in the total shopping experience is as follows-

1) It provides customers with more information about the products- the AR app enables customer to compare prices and arrange the products according to their ranks & highlight their features. Eg: if a customer intends to buy a TV, he would be provided with all TV options according to their ranks and the features of each product will be highlighted

2) It allows shoppers to have a trial before they buy – IKEA, L’Oreal, Lens kart, Topshop are using AR to enable the users try their product before they buy by converting the smartphone cameras into mirrors, allowing them to virtually try out the products wherever they are. It is also used in the clothing stores where users can stand in front of the AR door & see themselves just like looking in a mirror and by using hand gestures & virtual buttons, shoppers can superimpose clothing onto their image.

Programming virtual reality and augmented reality apps takes specialized know how, and it’s important to pick the right software development house. A combination of marketing savvy and advanced technical knowledge is required for VR and AR production. It’s a relatively new field that has ties to software development, systems integration, and mobile app development.

The motive of best augmented reality solutions aren’t necessarily the ones with the most unique features rather they’re the ones that get across the client’s message the most effectively. For an e-commerce site hoping customers will engage with an AR experience at home, it’s important to have a fun engaging app that people will enjoy using. The option to automatically save photos or videos of the app’s result and seamlessly share it to social media will go a long way here.

– Vishakha G. Sonar (Systems & Finance)

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